Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tying Yellow Ribbon around Old Oak Tree Was Just the Start

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tying Yellow Ribbon around Old Oak Tree Was Just the Start

Article excerpt

Byline: CINDY HOLIFIELD & SANDY STRICKLAND

Not only did she tie a yellow ribbon around an old oak tree, but Melissa Abbink wrapped them around pines, palms, poplars, bushes and mailboxes.

Her goal was to put ribbons on 162 trees on Mandarin Road in honor of the 162 soldiers in her son's Army unit who are being deployed to Afghanistan for a year.

"We wanted to show a small token of our support and let them know they will not be forgotten," she said.

Abbink far surpassed her goal. She and a small group of volunteers wrapped almost 300 trees and other objects.

Most were on scenic Mandarin Road, known for its stately centuries-old, moss-draped oaks. But some were on other streets.

Abbink said she was pleased with the cooperation she got from the city, residents, churches, organizations and businesses.

The trees were festooned in late April so Anthony Abbink got to help his mother tie the ribbons and said he appreciated the community support.

Abbink bought more than 2,300 yards of ribbon and has a few spools left.

She got $170 in donations from clients and her insurance company while she chipped in $100.

Here's more good news:

- Westside resident Cliff Newton is trumpeting a reunion - literally. Newton, who retired from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra after being principal trumpeter for 32 years, is reuniting with conductor Joseph Kreines, his high school piano accompanist, for a free concert.

The pair will reprise a work from the "Concertino" by Vidal, which they first performed 46 years ago.

The concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the Northeast Florida Conservatory, 11363 San Jose Blvd.

"He helped me get a scholarship for college and later coached me on proper performance of orchestral music." Newton said.

Now Newton is following Kreines' example, by mentoring other musicians. He will be joined by one of his youngest students - Ben Barton, age 11.

"Ben had been attending concerts I performed for several years and decided he wanted to learn to play the trumpet," Newton said.

- More than 150 Comcast employees, their families and friends recently improved Children's Home Society of Florida as part of "Comcast Cares Day. …

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